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Do men go to the mikvah too?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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The laws of purity and impurity apply to men and women equally. In the times when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem it was Biblically required of everyone to be pure when entering the Holy Temple or when eating holy foods (sacrifices, Terumah, maaser sheni, etc.). Therefore, both men and women (married and unmarried) would use the Mikvah very often. In fact, private mikvaot were found in many of the ancient homes that were excavated in Jerusalem.


Today, until the eagerly anticipated revelation of the messiah, there is no Holy Temple and therefore (generally speaking) no Biblical mandate to go to the mikvah. The only exception to this rule is the Niddah; a menstruating woman who must go to the mikvah before she can resume marital relations with her husband, and thus the Mitzvah of mikvah is still relevant to women until this very day.


The only time when it is Halachically mandatory for a man to go the mikvah is a prospective convert as his final stage of conversion. (Read "What is the conversion process?")  It is also stated in the code of Jewish law that men go to the mikvah the day before Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur we are compared to angels, and must therefore purify ourselves beforehand. (In many communities the women also go to the mikvah on this day). Often a groom will immerse on his wedding day.


Chassidim have the custom of going to the mikvah every day, and especially prior to Shabbat and festivals. This is intended to add an extra dimension of purity and holiness to everyday life.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » Family Purity » The Laws

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Mikvah
A ritual bath where one immerses to become spiritually pure. After her menstrual cycle, a woman must immerse in the Mikvah before resuming marital relations.
Halachically
According to Jewish law.
Chassidim
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) Following the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
Terumah
The tithe given to the priest (descendant of Aaron) from certain crops. The tithe was approximately 2% of the harvest.
Niddah
A menstruating woman. A niddah may not have intimate relations with her husband until she immerses in a ritual pool of water.